Saturday, February 23, 2008

Zoo Party: Part I

We went to our first birthday party held at the National Zoo this morning. Zander was really excited about it, as was I, since the party was celebrating the 4th birthday of the son of a friend whom I knew in a younger, single life and we don’t get to see each other nearly enough these days.

As preschool birthday parties go, this one was about as good as it can get. The party was held from 10:00am-12:00pm, when most preschoolers are awake, but not yet tired and cranky. The zoo was almost empty, probably since the weather was less than ideal. However, the no one told the animals that and they were in top form. (More on that shortly.)

In addition, my friend told me that the zoo staff does most of the work for these parties. When we arrived, tables were set up with animal-themed decorations, each child had a place mat and crayons with which to color, some goldfish crackers, a juice box, and his or her own safari hat.

After about twenty minutes, one of the safari guides (zoo staff), asked some name-that-animal-type questions and then took us on a tour to see the lions, tigers, and The Great Ape House. Even our safari guide was surprised to see the male lion so alert and close-up. (I’ve been to this zoo probably twenty or so times and I’ve never been this close to the lion.)

The primates in The Great Ape House were also in rare form -- jumping, climbing, and chewing on things. The children loved it.

Next, we headed back to the private party room where the children were served wraps, fruit, vegetables, and the requisite ice cream and cake.

Finally, zoo staff handed out goody bags for each child, complete with binoculars, animal crackers, a packet of wildflower seedlings, and a pot to plant them in. A great morning all in all.

The party was over, but our excitement did not end there. Continued…

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